Impacts of tropospheric ozone exposure on peatland microbial consumers

Richard John Payne, Sylvia Toet, Michael Rutherford Ashmore, Vincent E.J. Jassey, Daniel Gilbert

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Tropospheric ozone pollution is recognised as an important threat to terrestrial ecosystems but impacts on peatlands are little understood despite the importance of peat as a global carbon store. Here we investigate the impacts of three levels of elevated exposure to tropospheric ozone on peatland microbial communities with a particular focus on testate amoebae, the dominant microbial consumers. We found that in the intermediate (ambient + 25 ppb O3) and high treatments (ambient +35 ppb summer, +10 ppb year round) there were significant changes in testate amoeba communities, typified by an increase in abundance of Phyrganella spp. and loss of diversity. Phyrganella is often suggested to feed on fungi so the community change identified in our experiment might suggest that the testate amoeba response is at least partially mediated by interactions with other microbial groups. We do not find evidence for changes in numbers of undifferentiated microalgae, nematodes or rotifers but do find weak evidence for an increase in flagellates and ciliates. Our results provide the first direct data to show the impact of ozone on microbial consumers in peatlands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124–128
Number of pages5
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Early online date1 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

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